If the word honeymoon conjures up images of buttermilk sands sloping into calm, glassy water and warmed by a tropical sun, then Sandals Resorts is probably already on your radar. Should the self-proclaimed 5-star luxury-included-honeymoon artisan have yet to feature on your list of potentials, do read on.
Here is a luxury honeymoon veteran, with 40-years under its belt of scrutinising and perfecting Caribbean trips-of-a-lifetime where couples tumble head over heels for one another, all over again. It’s hard not to really, with the eye-wateringly pretty sea views from all 16 Sandals Resorts, and the stress-free delight of unlimited cocktails, gourmet dining, watersports (you name it) without booking or budgeting jitters that too often linger. In fact, not only does Sandals Resorts set a decision-free, relaxing bass note for honeymooners to fully lean into, everything, from the sunset boat trips to the delicious fresh-from-the-sea suppers enjoyed, à deux, under the stars, confers around its notion of romance.
Much like Sandals Resorts, couples will have their own take on romance and the activities, settings or situations that prompt those wonderful, moonstruck moments. It could be connecting during a long-awaited nourishing couple spa treatment with a smooth Caribbean Sea soundtrack, or a more high-energy waterski adventure along the tropical coast. For some, it’s dancing in a crowd while many simply feel the most gooey-eyed in smart garbs and chic surroundings. Above all though, no tribe of honeymooner can resist the crimson charm of a Caribbean sunset – animating faces, conversation and cocktail glasses – which is relished in style across all 16 Sandals Resorts.
Running the full honeymoon gamut, from relaxation-first agendas to the more the more thrill-seeking inclined, read on to discover which Sandals honeymooner you are.
The Active Honeymooner
If two hours’ sunbathing leaves you itching for a snorkel, or perhaps a tense game of golf, Sandals Ochi (a luxurious Sandals’ classic spanning 100 lush, tropical acres on Jamaica’s northern coastline), is a steller choice for a less lethargic honeymoon. A roster of watersports, scuba diving adventures and golfing afternoons can be enjoyed at honeymooners’ leisure with Sandals’ coveted all-inclusive set up – there’s even a separate scuba pool for those wanting to learn-on-the-moon in just three-hours or a full 8-hour Padi certified-for-life course. Further along Jamaica’s delightful coast lies Sandals Montego Bay, where doubles on the tennis court, water skiing and rock-wall climbing can be ticked off in one afternoon. Sandals Negril poses as yet another Jamaican contender to the active honeymooner, with its dizzying array of lively water and land activities.
And for the more intrepid, all three Jamaican resorts have collaborated with Island Routes Tours for exhilarating island tours, from deep-sea fishing to jungle mountain biking – all off-the-beaten track and thrilling enough to debrief for hours over several rounds of cocktails. A few miles across the Caribbean Sea, Sandals Grande Antigua lures in a similar tribe of honeymooner, with its prime spot along the island’s famously lovely Dickenson Bay. Calm waters and protected reefs are a siren call for the aqua-inclined – avid divers can even explore St John’s kaleidoscopic reefs twice a day with two tanks and the best dive boats, equipment and trained staff in the Caribbean – all included, of course. The same tempting offer extends across the Sandals brand, but is particularly enticing for Sandals newcomer, Sandals Royal Curaçao – whose Dutch-style beach-front houses are surrounded by 65 other-worldly dive sites.
The laid back Honeymooner
After an all-hands-on-deck run up to a wedding, a fly-and-flop style honeymoon can be the remedial, undemanding break you both crave. Sandals Resorts’ all-inclusive luxury proposition allows couples to set their own tempo and forgo the usual holiday research and admin (often an unwelcome addition to the wedding load). Sandals Grenada stuns even the seasoned traveller in the relaxation department – with suites that tip into a private infinity pool, seemingly floating high above the palm trees and rooftops below. It’s clever private set-ups like these that can easily engulf an afternoon, should couples wish to simply switch off and lean into the butler service for a quiet terrace dinner under the stars. Newly-weds soaking in the Caribbean rays from the flawless beach sunbeds will be treated to whiffs of ginger, cloves or even nutmeg – signature scents from ‘The Island of Spice.’ Relaxation feels thoroughly photogenic at Sandals Royal Caribbean, the Jamaican Resort whose open, Balinese-inspired over-the-water villas inhale a warm, sea breeze and steal away couples for hours and days with pretty hammocks and direct access to a turquoise lagoon.
The Caribbean’s famously laid back approach to time is keenly felt at Sandals Halcyon Beach, where palms gently rustle, the sea washes a powder-white beach and mountains surging in the distance humble, silence and stun honeymooners. It’s against striking backdrops like these that newlyweds can take full advantage of Sandals’ butler service to organise truly anything, albeit a poolside lunch, a romantic supper on the beach or even a last-minute spa treatment – Sandals Royal Plantation is the only All-Butler, All-Suite Resort and the ultimate choice for honeymooners with a privacy-first agenda.
Sandals South Coast in Jamaica’s new Rondoval swim-up suites promise long, languid afternoons cooled by several glasses of wine and oscillating between a private pool and the bed (a metre or so from the pool edge, naturally). Thatched roofs and dense, tropical greenery are the exotic surroundings honeymooners pine for – that sense of drifting off together to far-flung corners of the world, and vanishing. Easy-going Sandals Emerald Bay in the Bahamas eagerly embraces this concept, with 500-acres of tropical gardens and a mile-long beach guaranteeing an exhilarating level of seclusion and less demanding activities, such as paddling with pigs in the shallows.
The Social Honeymooner
Socialising and honeymoon rarely share the same sentence, however, above and beyond Sandals’ seriously plush suites, the tropical setting and the food, it’s the poolside atmosphere or restaurant ambiance that fun couples are curious to suss out and enjoy, not to mention the beach clubs and feet-in-the-sand DJs. Whether it’s sundowners at Latitudes Over Water Bar or assessing the vibe (and the tasty sushi) at Soy, Sandals flagship Resort, Montego Bay, is a waterside warren of fun. Should newlyweds feel an urge to get up and dance, Ochi Beach Club at Jamaica’s Sandals Ochi is one of Sandals’ many chic-and-shaded beach clubs with swim up pool bars and smooth lounge music.
It’s the entertainment that truly sets Sandals apart, from Reggae evenings to swinging Piano Bars and Caribbean beach nights (particularly memorable at Sandals Grande St Lucian where the hotel occupies the entire peninsula). Some resorts, such as the rather glamorous Sandals Regency La Toc in Saint Lucia, take the party one step further with karaoke and a nightclub. And given the all-inclusive status of the Sandals’ rum cocktails, the idea of chorusing an ‘80s power ballad after a club boogie on your honeymoon is not wildly far-fetched.
Live music also lifts the crowd in some of Sandals Resorts restaurants – which are choreographed in line with failproof notions of romance: candle-lit tables, flawless food and well-curated wine lists. Honeymooners are spoiled for choice at all resorts, particularly at Sandals Barbados where 11 restaurants run the full foodie gamut, from Indian to fresh Caribbean seafood. At nearby fellow newcomer, Sandals Royal Barbados, couples can combine their trip with Sandals’ two resorts for the price of one offer, and tuck into the chocolate buffet night, or the Barbados Day and Street Jamboree, when not admiring the view from the rooftop pool, of course.
The Refined Honeymooner
While fully embracing the natural surroundings for activities, food and outdoor fun, Sandals Resorts play to the sophisticated crowd – giving honeymooners plenty of opportunities to don their finery. The tone of the trip (and wardrobe) is arguably set by the restaurant and suite choice. Take Sandals Grande Antigua, dubbed the Caribbean’s most romantic resort, where luxurious Rondoval suites are tucked away in gardens and the pool brushing up against old world interiors recalls a scene from James Bond. Or Sandals Grenada, where sumptuous bathrooms double up as private spas and open-air soaking tubs call for sunset baths with Champagne (the ultimate honeymoon luxury).
But Sandals Royal Bahamian holds the crown for royal links (once a favourite of the Duke And Duchess of Windsor) and continues to offer couples the royal treatment with butler serviced River Pool Swim-up Suites and smart VIP airport transfers in a Rolls-Royce or Mercedes-Benz. Literary royalty once graced Jamaica’s Sandals Royal Plantation. Ian Fleming and Noel Coward fell for the hotel’s genteel charm, which lives on today with peacocks roaming the manicured lawns and butlers floating down paths to deliver cool glasses of Champagne. An imposing, pillared entrance, mahogany four poster beds and palm-framed balconies whisper tales of old world Jamaica and deliver the sophisticated backdrop some couples deem their honeymoon right. The Beachfront Skypool suites at Sandals Royal Barbados offer the same haut standards, just with a modern spin. Sumptuously subdued and understated interiors spill out onto a private terrace and perfectly-formed infinity pool, with knockout views over a calm Caribbean Sea and an empty beach, giving honeymooners the euphoric feeling that they’re completely alone in paradise.
Visit Sandals Resorts to book your dream Caribbean honeymoon here: sandals.co.uk